GOP Bill to Ban Federally Funded Drag Shows, Sexually Explicit Material for Children

GOP Bill to Ban Federally Funded Drag Shows, Sexually Explicit Material for Children
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) speaks to reporters in Washington on May 14, 2021. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Caden Pearson

House Republicans on Tuesday introduced a bill that would ban the use of federal funds for drag queen performances and other sexually oriented programs aimed at young children.

The Stop the Sexualization of Children Act of 2022 bill (pdf) would prohibit federal, state, and local governments and private organizations from using federal tax dollars to expose children under 10 to sexually explicit material.
"The Democrat Party and their cultural allies are on a misguided crusade to immerse young children in sexual imagery and radical gender ideology,” the bill's sponsor, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), said in a statement.

"This commonsense bill is straightforward. No federal tax dollars should go to any federal, state, or local government agencies, or private organizations that intentionally expose children under 10 years of age to sexually explicit material."

The bill states that "it is the sense of Congress" that while parents may choose how and when to expose their children to "material of a sexual nature," federal funds shouldn't be used to "expose children under 10 years of age to sexually-oriented material."

"No federal funds may be made available to develop, implement, facilitate, or fund any sexually-oriented program, event, or literature for children under the age of 10, including hosting or promoting any program, event, or literature involving sexually-oriented material, or any program, event, or literature that exposes children under the age of 10 to nude adults, individuals who are stripping, or lewd or lascivious dancing," the bill states, in part.

According to the bill, federal taxpayer dollars have been used to fund sexual education for children under 10, including the purchase of literature and materials that teach preadolescent children about masturbation, pornography, sexual acts, and gender transition.

 Students in a library at a school in New York City on Feb. 2, 2022. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Students in a library at a school in New York City on Feb. 2, 2022. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

"Sexually oriented events" such as drag queen story hours and burlesque shows have been funded by taxpayer money through federal grants, hosted by private organizations and state and local government agencies, as well as on federal property during family-oriented events.

Federal funds have also funded drag queen performances for children around the country, including for families on military bases, where the Department of Defense is incorporating radical gender ideology into curricula at DOD schools, according to a report (pdf).
Johnson's office said the funding from the Department of Health and Human Services and the DOD "should be used to keep our country healthy and safe, not to stage burlesque shows for children."

Radical Gender Theory in Schools

The teaching of these sexually oriented programs is happening as early as kindergarten, where concepts of sexuality, sexual orientation, transgenderism, and gender ideology are being introduced, according to the bill.

The bill defines "sexually oriented" as any depiction, description, or simulation of sexual activity, any lewd or lascivious depiction or description of human genitals, or any topic involving sexual orientation, gender identity, gender dysphoria, or related subjects.

Johnson's bill is supported by 32 other House Republicans who agree that children should be learning about reading, writing, and math, not radical gender theory, according to Johnson's office.

His office cited a Planned Parenthood call-to-action (pdf) it said encourages lawmakers and school boards to implement sexual education curricula that teach radical gender theory to children under 10.

Under the legislation, parents would be able to sue any public or private entity that uses federal dollars to expose their young children to sexually explicit materials or programs.

Those organizations found to have violated the proposed law more than once in a five-year period would lose access to federal funds for three years.

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